June 2, 2012

Fruits & Nuts 2012 Tour

Looks like it's going to be a good year for fruits and nuts.


Branches of peach tree bending under weight of fruit
Peach trees planted fall of 2009

My peach trees are loaded, one (pictured above) in particular. The branches are bending to the ground under the weight of the fruit. Impressive but not good management. I should picked off a bunch at an earlier stage. That would have meant less of a burden on the branches, and larger peaches. Last year all my peaches were loaded with worms. I'm hoping for better this year. They're almost ripe so we'll be harvesting these later this month.


apples on apple tree
Apple trees planted fall of 2009

This will be our first year to get a few apples! I planted two varieties, Gala and Fuji, and we'll get some of both.


Lone crabapple on little crabapple tree
Crabapple tree planted fall of 2010

I have one crabapple (our first) on my little crabapple tree! I planted it because my brother loves crabapple jelly. Also, I'm hoping to use these to make cider vinegar one of these days.


Surprise trying to get a bite of the blueberry bush
Surprise trying her hardest to get a taste of blueberry bush

I have to say that the blueberry corral has worked very well. Last year it was an ongoing battle with the goats to try and harvest any blueberries (that tale here.)

Rabbiteye blueberries not ripe yet
Blueberry bush was here when we bought the place

This year will be a different story because the bush is loaded with unripe berries. Blueberries are ready to harvest here in July.


young elder bush in flower
1st elder bushes were planted winter 2009.

We planted our first elderberry bushes December 2009. I've added more every year since, with a goal to make an impressive hedge. This year we have more flowers than ever before, but experience has taught me that the birds love elderberries, even green ones. Maybe I should net them. Hmm.

Red Raspberries

Red raspberries, planted spring 2010 and 2011

I haven't done well with my red raspberry plants. For every three I plant I lose at least one, often two. It may be the spot I chose to plant them, up the hill from the elder bushes. The higher up the hill the more quickly the ground dries out. Watering more would have helped, but some things are difficult to get to. Above is the sum total of my very first raspberry harvest, two whole berries. (Hey, it's a start, right?)

Sand Cherries

Sand cherries, planted spring of 2011

Something unexpected has been our sand cherries. I planted these to make a pretty privacy hedge, not thinking a lot about the fruit, except that I try to only plant things that are edible or medicinal. The largest plants have produced these for me....

My very 1st bowlful of cherries

Not enough to do much with and they're pretty extremely tart. Still, they aren't as seedy as I expected for a native type cherry bush. One of these years they'll probably make an excellent batch of jelly.


Small green figs growing on fig tree
Baby figs are beginning to grow. Mature trees were here when we got here.

I discovered that we had fig trees while I was clearing out overgrown brush our first summer here. Since then we've enjoyed a good harvest every year. My dad especially loves the canned ones and has put in his request for as many as I care to send. Fig harvest will be in August.


One vine, variety unknown, was here before we were

One grapevine was here when we bought the place. I don't know when it was planted, but unfortunately it is now in all shade and doesn't do very well. The grapes will turn dark purple later in the summer and are seedy and very sour. The birds will get to them before I do. I should consider propagating a few of my own vines from this one, but we haven't decided yet where to put them.

We have Muscadines as well, wild ones. I got a good harvest our first autumn, but none since, so I'm hoping it will be a good year for them. Some day I will plant some muscadine vines.

Rugosa Rosehips

Rugosa roses with hips beginning to ripen. Planted fall of 2010

I love my rugosa roses. Beautiful, single hot pink blooms and huge bright red hips. I'd like to have an impressive hedge of these too. I did transplant some volunteers, two of which look like they'll survive if they get plenty of water this summer.

I also promised some nuts on this tour, and here they are,


All-in-One Almond. Planted winter 2009

Last year we got a small handful of almonds, but this year looks like we'll have a modest harvest. Almonds are Dan's favorite nuts, so I planted it just for him. I love them too, so it's a welcome addition to the yard. I bought an all-in-one because I read that Hall's Hardy, while indeed hardy and easier to crack, weren't as sweet. All-in-one is self pollinating (not sure about Hall's) and it's pale pink flowers in the spring are a delight to the eye.


Pecan trees just finished blooming, so we'll have to see what makes

Mature pecan trees were one of the bonuses when we bought the place. Last year was my best ever for pecans; not terms of quantity, but quality. This year? We'll have to wait and see. :)

Non-producers this year are the pears. Theses were planted the same time as the apples. Trees that are still small and young aren't producing yet either, my Stanley prune-plum, North Star cherry tree, and my two hazelnut trees. I also wasn't expecting much from the strawberries and wasn't disappointed. Last year's plants were swallowed up by wire grass. I transplanted the ones I could, and also planted some new. Unfortunately wire grass seems to love strawberries and it's found it's way into this new bed too. Some days I feel like I just can't win. On the other hand, looks like we've got a lot to be thankful for this year.


Theresa said...

One could walk around your property and nibble all day long! We have elderberries up here. They grow wild.
I envy you your Rugosa roses. I had some in MA and loved them.

Dani said...

Certainly a feast of desserts in your garden. Your peaches look wonderful - mine, too, always get "stung" / worms..

DFW said...

Lovely orchards. Hope to get so of mine planted this fall.

mashelly said...

i love seeing peoples fruit trees i find it inspiring

Mama Pea said...

An impressive assortment of fruits and nuts! I had to go back and read this post twice . . . how do you keep track of all of them? It would be interesting to have a follow-up post to this in a couple of months with updates of how everything did for you.

Rob said...

Talk about everything under the sun. Great job.

Woody said...

What a variety! We were hit with a late frost that did our peaches in.

Leigh said...

Theresa, love those elders and rugosas. The elders grow wild here too but we had none on the property. :( Hopefully we'll have seasonable nibbling, as in all growing season long. :)

Dani, I really have to address this. I've read that agricultural dormant oil at the right stage helps. I meant to try that this year but couldn't find any locally. We'll see how they do this year and make a concerted effort next year if needed (which it probably will.)

DFW, thanks! Fruit tree planting was one of the first things we did when we moved here. So nice to see the harvest finally starting to happen. :)

Joyfulhomemaker, me too!

Mama Pea, I'll have to do that. I know the "domestic" fruits are more work than the native varieties. But who doesn't love apples, peaches, and pears!

Rob, thanks. I figure even if we don't harvest and eat it all, it's still there and growing every year. :)

Woody, good to hear from you! Late frosts are a yearly concern here too. Fortunately we missed that bullet this year.

Woolly Bits said...

I'd say you have a great climate there - most of the plants you mention wouldn't grow over here - or at least not carry fruits. I am looking forward to lots of blueberries though - my plants are much smaller than yours (have to keep them in large pots, the soil isn't right for them), but they are full of little "promises":) the rugosas have turned into a right pest here - they make runners everywhere and I have to fight them in my flower beds, otherwise they'd take over:( nice hips though!

Farmer Barb said...

I had two varieties of Elderberry in MA and I found that a nice big net propped up on a taller stick helps. The Stick will stand taller than the bush to keep the net away from the flowers. We put a tennis ball on the stick to keep it from ripping the net. When the berries are heavy enough, they droop over and fall away from the net. Weight the net with something on the edges. Birds will figure out how to get under it, too.

Farmer Barb said...

The raspberries need water from April to July if they are in a dry area. Drip hose on a timer is best for protection from disease. Did you mow your canes down or are they June bearers? Primocanes should get cut to the ground and floricanes get cut to the gorund after each cane is done fruiting.

Happy fruiting!

Bernadine said...

So many things growing on your land. What a great reward for all your hard work. Those peaches looks amazing.

Florida Farm Girl said...

What a wonderful assortment of fruits and nuts!!! Nothing more satisfying than to see foods you've gathered and canned yourself.

DebbieB said...

Love seeing all that potential harvest! You're going to be a very busy woman when it's time to pick and can all that, but what a blessing and a bounty for your pantry!

Sherri B. said...

How thrilling to find that fig tree. We bought two small plants last year and had to bring them in for winter. They are doing well so far and we will be happy to see a few this year. - We planted a row of raspberries several years ago and they failed right away...Who knows? - Our Italian prune plum was planted 5 years ago and still has not produces, hubby says this is it...if it doesn't give us anything but leaves this year then it is gone. - We have an Asian Pear that is 3 years old and nothing from it yet, I notice that there is only one on it now...I'll give it one more year then that ones gone too.

Poor Surprise, looks like she won't be getting any blueberries this year! xo

Crustyrusty said...

We have 2 peach trees that were on the property when we bought it, and have planted 3 more, one nectarine, 2 apples and 3 figs. Ditto what Woody said up there... we had a late frost that did a LOT of damage to the plant life up here.

Renee Nefe said...

Looks great!

The birds have already found our strawberries and help themselves even with a net. They get upset when the dog tries to chase them off.

Our cherry tree is now too big to net so it will be a battle against the birds to see who actually gets to harvest.

Our apple tree is loaded with apples, some of the branches are having a hard time staying up. I'll have to figure out something to keep the yellow jackets from munching them all.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Thanks for the fruit and nut tour. Since we're now retired from our full-time RV lifestyle we're excited about our recently planted fruit orchard. We started out this spring by planting two cherry, a nectarine, a plum, and an apricot . . . five trees this year and we plan to add a few each year. It brings me joy to see the fruit of your labor after three years from your first planting of your almond, apples, and peach trees.

Leigh said...

Bettina, I am fortunate to live in the climate I do. Well, I say that now. Ask me again in the middle of August!

Barb, thank you for that! Both the tips on covering and watering. We've never mowed our canes down and in fact I don't even know what kind they are. Something I'd better research, obviously. :)

Bernadine, thanks!

FFG, it's the most satisfying thing in the world. :)

Debbie, yes! Summer gets terribly busy with canning. Thankfully the kitchen will be done by then. :)

Sherri, Interesting that your prune plum and pears haven't done well either. Slow to mature and produce, perhaps. Either way ours will stay. :) And Surprise! Darn that goat. She has plenty to eat elsewhere. It's the things I don't want her to have that she craves. :)

Crusty, that it's a shame one frost can wipe out an entire year's harvest. We were fortunate this year, but next year who knows?

Renee, sounds like you've got smart birds! And yellow jackets don't sound like good competition for your apples. At all.

Janice, it seems like forever when you plant but harvest begins before you know it! We hope to add to our fruit producers every year too.

Anonymous said...

Just one word........YUM! :)

Kari said...

Thanks for the tour! I've never heard of sand cherries before. I googled them and it sounds like they might grow here (most cherries don't). Do you know what variety you planted?

Unknown said...

I've had to use notched 2x4's to brace up some of our apple tree branchs so they wouldn't break under the weight of the fruit, nice variety!

Anonymous said...

Leigh, what a beautiful assortment! Oh boy, those peaches look SO good! Hope they turn out this year! :)

Bridget said...

Looking good for fruit in Ireland too. Envying your exotic nuts...they would'nt grow here in Ireland. We do get Hazelnuts.

Leigh said...

Stephanie, the perfect word!

Kari, there wasn't a variety listed, just their scientific name, prunus besseyi. I bought them from a nursery catalog, but I can't remember which one. I also found them at Tractor Supply. Being a native, they have so far done very well with little extra care from me!

Nancy, I should probably do that so I don't lose limbs!

Pam, I can confirm they are delicious! I just had the very first ones sliced on a bowl of cereal!

Bridget, I have to admit that the fruits like peaches, apples, and pears are not the easiest to grow in my part of the southeastern US. I've read that native plants like persimmons, pawpaws, and berries will do better. But we love those kinds of fruits!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

YUM! All that lovely, luscious food! You could notch tomato stakes and prop up those peach branches; that might help.

Kristi@LetThisMindBeInYou said...

Everything looks wonderful, Leigh!

We bought an almond tree, and probably 5-6 other bare-root trees, so I'm thinking we'll have quite a modest harvest this year, if we get one at all. Can't wait until all the trees are producing every year!

Your post makes me excited for things to come!

Sue said...

So jealous of all that fruity goodness. I keep trying, but so far the only thing that has survived is the sour cherry, and it hasn't given fruit yet. I'm considering moving it closer to the house this fall. All summer long I buy cases of fresh fruit at the farmer's markets, but I'd rather grow my own.

Leigh said...

Thistle Cove Farm, thanks for the suggestion! I'm thinking we definitely need to do something!

Kristi, thank you! I think fruit and nut trees put the "slow" in the slow life. :) Very exciting when they start producing.

Sue, that's disappointing when things like trees don't make it. I wish I could find cases of fruit locally. It would help make up for some of what I don't have yet. Good luck with that cherry!

Natalie said...

What a delightful post. I just finished planting some new blueberry bushes yesterday. I hope in a few years they will be even half as prolific as yours. They all died the first time around. I was excited to see your elderberry in flower. I planted one a few weeks back but didn't know what it would look like in flower...in fact, I have never even tasted one.